This Guest Voice post is by watchingamerica.com translator Dorian de Wind, who is also a retired U.S. Air Force officer. Guest Voice posts do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of TMV and its writers.
John McCain’s One Hundred Years in Iraq
by Dorian de Wind
Presidential candidate John McCain during a recent town-hall meeting said that it “would be fine with” him if the U.S. military stayed in Iraq for “a hundred years.”
He qualified such a breathtaking level of comfort with the war in Iraq by adding that it would be fine with him as long as Americans are not killed or injured.
A few days later in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert, McCain added: “So what I believe we can achieve is a reduction in casualties to the point where the Iraqis are doing the fighting and dying, we‘re supporting them…”
But, John McCain has consistently refused to give the American people any indication as to when this war may be over, or may be “won.” When he expects that it will be only the Iraqis that “are doing the fighting and dying.” When he believes that our troops will no longer be killed, maimed or injured. When he thinks that we will be in Iraq just “supporting them.”
Let’s give John McCain the benefit of the doubt.
Let’s assume that he exaggerated by ten-fold when he said that it would be fine with him if we were in Iraq for one hundred years.
Let’s assume that we will “only” have 10 more years of bloodletting in Iraq.
What will we say then?
Will we tell America that if we leave then, the–God-forbid–additional thousands of young American lives lost in Iraq will have been for naught?
Will we tell our soldiers on their umpteenth combat tour that we have to stay there because the umpteenth surge “is working?”
Will we tell the American people that we are still there because “we are making progress?”
Or will we simply say that we have to stay there because “we are there now?”
On a more personal level, if we are in Iraq for “only” ten more years, my 8-year-old grandson–then 18–could end up serving in Iraq.
What will I tell him then?
What could I tell my grandson who was barely a year when this president was selected by the Supreme Court?
What could I tell my grandson who was only 3 when this president took our country, and its brave military–including thousands upon thousands of our precious young soldiers–into an ill-conceived, ill-planned and ill-managed war?
What could I tell my grandson who was too young to express his opinion on–let alone vote for–the man who started this war?
What could I tell my grandson who was too young to speak out on a war that was started by some zealous, old hacks and ideologues so many years ago?
Could I tell him that I am sorry for not having fought harder to stop this madness when it started; when it continued, and continued, and….?
I really don’t know what I could tell him.
Perhaps I won’t have to tell him anything. If I am fortunate, when my grandson–and America’s young sons and grandsons–end up in Iraq 10 years from now, I will no longer be here.
But many of those who got us into this tragic war will still be here. What will they tell America’s parents and grandparents when their sons and grandsons don‘t come marching home?
Will they finally see truth in the words of our thirty-first president, Herbert Hoover: “Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die”? And will they be sorry for it?
Dorian de Wind is a retired U.S. Air Force Officer, born in Ecuador and educated in The Netherlands. He has a bachelor’s degree from of Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. Dorian has written opinion pieces and travel and other articles for the Austin American-Statesman and for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. He also translates Dutch press articles for watchingamerica.com.